All of the Pianow lines taken from the Yahoo Sports app, current at time of publishing.
• Bears +3 vs. Lions: Chicago didn’t get the job done last week as a home favorite, although the Benny Cunningham play at the goal line was a massive swing against them. I generally dig the Bears as a home underdog, a sound defense on a slow track. The Lions play more conservatively on the road, and at a much slower pace. This is a game Chicago can steal.
• Ravens -1 at Packers: I beg you to not watch a minute of this game. No highlights, no look-ins, nothing. But Baltimore comes in rested, the Ravens defense is the only major unit you can trust here. We also get the better coach and the best kicker in the league, not bad tiebreakers in a tight game.
• Bills +6 at Chargers: Buffalo’s QB change could go either way, and obviously the Bills defense completely fell apart in last week’s embarrassing loss to New Orleans. But we know the Chargers have zero home-field advantage, and the LACs generally leave points on the board, even when they move the ball consistently. I can’t give this big a number with an Anthony Lynn team.
• Cowboys +6 vs. Eagles: Dallas is down a left tackle, a kicker, a star running back. But those things are baked into the line. Heck, if this game was played in Philly, the Eagles would be a 12-point favorite. Dallas is the more desperate team and the line has likely overreacted to the last thing we saw from the Pokes. Here’s a vote for the hosts to keep it competitive.
• Seahawks -2.5 vs. Falcons: Seattle is another team down all sorts of key personnel, especially in the secondary. But the Falcons offense can’t seem to turn its per-play success into point success, and I don’t think that’s merely a descriptive stat. Seattle’s home-field success has fluctuated in recent years, but it’s hard to look past the Hawks when they’re merely asked to lay less than three in this spot.
— Last Week: 3-2 (how you crush my soul, Browns)
— Season: 27-22-1
And now, a word from Yahoo Noise:
#TeamHuevos Total of the Week — UNDER 37 Jax/Cle. Forget rain, sleet or snow, when it comes to football the biggest meteorological deterrent is high sustained winds. Forecasts in the greater Cleveland area call for blustery conditions. A consistent breeze is expected to blow off Lake Erie at 21-25 mph with peak gusts approaching 40 mph. On top of that, sporadic snow showers combined with temps in the mid-30s will enhance Mother Nature’s bite. The kicking and pass games are sure to suffer. Throw in Jacksonville’s unyielding secondary (5.8 ypa allowed), Cleveland’s formidable front (3.11 ypc to RBs) and Leonard Fournette’s bum ankle, and a low-scoring affair takes shape. The first to 13 may win. Fearless Forecast: Jacksonville 13 Cleveland 6
#FadeTheNoise Pick ATS of the Week — Arizona +1.5. Blaine Gabbert vs. Tom Savage ranks up there with a comic book showdown between Squirrel Girl and Aqualad. Still, it’s a betting opportunity to take advantage of. The last time we saw Gabbert under center, in San Francisco, he was serviceable. He completed 60.6 percent of his passes and notched 6.8 yards per attempt. He’s an upgrade, though a slight one, over Drew Stanton. Considering how dreadful Houston’s pass defense has performed (278.5 ypg, 7.9 ypa allowed), I suspect the Cardinals will operate almost uninhibitedly through the air. Yes, with Gabbert. Fearless Forecast: Arizona 23 Houston 19
Our closer, as usual, is Dalton Del Don:
Supercontest: This week we went with the Saints (-7.5), Chargers (-5.5), Patriots (-6.5), Cowboys (+3.5) and Seahawks (-2.5). New Orleans is the only team in the NFL that ranks in the top-five both in Offense and Defense DVOA, and this line suggests it would be close to a pick em’ if this game were in Washington, which seems low. The Saints are arguably the best team in football…I normally like the Chargers far more when underdogs, and they will probably find a way to blow this cover late, but the setup is right, up against a Buffalo team that struggles on the road traveling across the country with a rookie QB making his first career start…Everyone seems out on Dallas right now, so that’s our contrarian play…We liked the Pats at -7 and Seattle at -3, so we loved that the SuperContest lines moved off those key numbers in our favor.
Parlay of the Week: Off to a slow start here in this column, and last week’s experiment with college won’t happen again anytime soon. This week I’m wagering on a four-team moneyline parlay, taking the Chiefs (-455), Jaguars (-365), Saints (-377) and Patriots (-310). BET $150 to win $240